Joe Girardi tinkers with his bullpen and it breaks
The New York Yankees were simply following their usual script on Thursday night against the Chicago White Sox.
Ivan Nova pitched well into the eighth inning. Marx Teixeira homered. And the Yankees had a 3-1 lead.
But the Yankees had longer-term goals on their mind. Rafael Soriano had pitched on four of the previous five days. And David Robertson's velocity has been down a bit since returning from an oblique injury.
Manager Joe Girardi decided to stay away from Rafael Soriano entirely, and use lefty/righty matchups to nurse the Yankees through the final five outs.
It didn't work, and the Yankees lost 4-3 after Girardi was forced anyway to turn to Robertson, who served up a three-run homer.
Things might actually have gone just fine if it weren't for a fielding error. After Boone Logan and Cody eppley each retired a batter to end the eighth, the Yankees started Clay Rapada in the ninth. He allowed a single to Alex Rios, but induced an easy double play ball right back to himself from A.J. Pierzynski. However, Rapada threw the ball into center field, and suddenly the White Sox had the tying runs on base.
So Girardi, his hand forced, went to Robertson, who gave up the three-run blast to Dayan Viciedo before retiring the side.
It can be argued that Robertson should have started the ninth inning. Robertson certainly thought so, saying after the game that “If it’s up to me, if it’s my choice, yeah, I would prefer (to start the inning).”
Girardi defended his actions, saying of Robertson, “His velocity has been not as consistent as before he got hurt, so I’m watching him. I’m going to be cautious.”
Actual caution would have called for letting the Yankees rise and fall with Clay Rapada. Trying to win the game called for David Robertson from the start of the inning. Girardi did neither, and his team paid for it.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
Powered by David Wright's home run and Chris Young's stellar start, the Mets beat the Dodgers in Los Angeles, 3-2. Bobby Parnell earned his first save of the year, filling in for the injured Frank Francisco.
Buster Olney thinks the Mets should trade for Grant Balfour. Of course, to do it, they'll have to take on his approximately $2 million of remaining salary for 2012, along with either a $4.5 million team option or $350,000 buyout for 2013, so their decision-making will be interesting here. They certainly could use the bullpen help.
Anthony Davis of Kentucky went first overall in the draft to New Orleans. St. John's prospect Moe Harkless went 15th to Philadelphia.
The night was far less eventful for the local teams. The Knicks, drafting 48th, took Kostas Papanikolaou, a Greek forward who cannot come to the N.B.A., contractually, until 2013-14 at the earliest.
The Nets took Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor at 41, a good pick, but one unlikely to help convince Deron Williams to stay, since Taylor plays his position. The Nets then added a pair of international prospects who general manager Billy King said would stay in Europe for another season at least.